“Martin Luther King, Jr.,” read the boy at the head of the room. Although class had been in session for ten minutes; his audience yawned, fidgeted, dozed, or daydreamed.
Equally glassy-eyed, Wil blinked. Her eyes fixed on the white board behind the boy –Lucas? Most of her thoughts were miles away.
Lucas took the top paper of the pile he gripped and stuffed it, crinkling, to the back. He sighed and continued in a monotone, “Martin Luther King, Jr., original name Michael King, Jr., born January 15, 1929, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.—died April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee…”
Wil’s head drooped. She longed for her book, nestled back home in her covers without her. She frowned in thought. No, she wished to be with her book in her bed.
“…Baptist minister and social activist who led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968…”
In the pause he took to breathe, Mrs. Riles piped up. In unison, she and Lucas recited, “His leadership was fundamental to that movement’s success in ending the legal segregation of African Americans in the South and other parts of the United States…”
Their impromptu act awakened a few students. A few tittered, realizing what Mrs. R. was doing. The laughter, more than his teacher’s synchronized recital, caused Lucas to stop and look up. Mrs. R.’s expression when he did so caused him to swallow. Hard.
“Miss -Mrs. Riles?” he stuttered. His peers watched, now alert.
His interrogator and their mutual instructor appeared amused, like a python enjoying a joke. “Would you like to tell me how I was able to read your report, word-for-word, from my phone?”
The snake’s victim shook his head and dropped his eyes to his pages; which, in turn, he dropped to rest against his legs. One sneakered foot brushed the other, and back.
“I think you’d better sit down. We can talk some more about this after class.”
Lucas nodded and shuffled back to his seat.
“Right,” Mrs. R. said in a brighter tone. “So… who’s next?”
All text about Martin Luther King, jr. obviously and intentionally swiped from The Encyclopedia Britannica.
©2019 Chelsea Owens